Meet the Correspondent: Marina Grechanik > Tel-Aviv, Israel$show=/search/label/Marina%20Grechanik

"Sketching is one of my passions. I don't feel comfortable when I leave home without a sketchbook and some pens in my bag. I think that my way to put things in my memory is to draw them. And taking pictures isn't the same thing.

I live in a very dynamic surrounding — Israel is a warm country with warm weather and warm people. Of course, we have seashores, which calm us a little bit. I love to sit in a corner of some Tel-Aviv coffee shop and explore relationships: between people, their environment, between myself. All this unique local mix of cultures, languages and styles is always a great source for inspiration. You need to be fast, because, as I said, everything is very dynamic. But that's why I love it so much.

Sometimes, I look around, and I find some usual items like sugar bags or napkins. I use them in my drawings to show the atmosphere. Sometimes I draw directly on placemats."

• Marina's art on Flickr.
• Marina's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Tina Koyama > Seattle$show=/search/label/tina%20koyama

"The dictionary says that a hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.” Although urban sketching certainly provides both pleasure and relaxation, I don’t think of it as my hobby. I think of it more as a way of life – something that has become such a normal part of my everydayness that it shapes how I view the world.

For most of my life I had both the fear of drawing as well as the desire to draw. In 2011, inspired by Gabi Campanario’s Seattle Sketcher column, I finally decided to overcome the fear. His drawings of Seattle – my birthplace and lifelong home – were of sights that I had seen many times, yet had never truly seen. I wanted to learn to see, and therefore experience, those locations (and any new ones that I travel to) more completely. Part 8 of the Urban Sketchers Manifesto, to “show the world, one drawing at a time,” has a flip side: Sketching enables me to see my own world, one drawing at a time.

In the last four years, it is not an exaggeration to say that Urban Sketchers has changed my life. I have met and sketched with many wonderful people around the globe, either at symposiums or during other travel, because the USk network brought us together. I sketch almost weekly with my local group, sharing sketches, art supplies and friendship. Even when I stay home and enjoy sketches online, I am still a part of that rich network, learning with every sketch about other people’s lives.

In May, my husband Greg and I went to France for the first time, and I sketched the Eiffel Tower. Sketching one of the world’s most famous icons felt like a dream come true – the ultimate in urban sketching. But although I can’t resist sketching world-famous icons whenever I’m fortunate enough to see them, for me, urban sketching is much more than that.

Urban sketching is a tree with its middle chopped away to accommodate Seattle’s ubiquitous power lines. It’s about a couple of women chatting over coffee, or about workers roofing the house next door. It’s about an excavator filling a hole where a cherry tree once stood. Or the Tibetan monastery I drive by frequently that I couldn’t resist because it’s bright orange. Urban sketching is a string band performing at a local farmers’ market – or perhaps in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Celebrating the mundane as well as the famous is what urban sketching is all about. My sketches are not necessarily about “special” moments; they are moments made special because I sketched them."

Tina has been editor of Drawing Attention since 2013 and now serves on the Urban Sketchers editorial board. See more of her sketches on her blog, on Flickr and on Instagram.

Meet the Correspondent: Pete Scully > Davis, Calif.$show=/search/label/Pete%20Scully

"I am from urban north London, but now live in urbane Davis California. I sketch, I write, sometimes do things and go places and my name is Pete.

When not Davis, I sketch Sacramento, San Francisco, London, or anywhere else I happen to be. I tend to erase people and cars from my cities, but I'm starting to get over this.

Davis: calm, old-fashioned, progressive, quirky, very very hot in the summer. I use micron and copic pens, with watercolour."

• Pete's blog.
• Pete's art on Flickr.

Meet the Correspondent: Suhita Shirodkar > San Jose, Calif.$show=/search/label/Suhita%20Shirodkar

"I was born in Mumbai (Bombay) and lived in different parts of India until I moved to San Jose, California, where I now live.

Travel inspires my art, but, traveling or not, I try to view the world around me as a traveller would; so whether I’m capturing a moment of calm on the banks of the Ganges in India, or sketching over coffee at my local coffee shop, I aim to look deeply, and with wonder, at both the everyday and the exotic, the old and the new.

I love color. My sketch kit consists of Extra Fine Sharpies (the fact that they bleed into the paper as soon as they touch it works really well for me—it forces me to work super-quick), a small set of Prismacolor pencils and a little watercolor travel set".

Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Urban Sketches - Urban Stories

[by Róisín Curé in Galway] I love the storytelling aspect of being an urban sketcher. It's completely natural for me to draw something that illustrates a story I want to tell, and to write a story to elaborate on a drawing I have made.

I have a nice little sketchbook on the go at the moment, a Fabriano Venezia. Weirdly, it's not watercolour paper but cartridge, and yet it responds really well to my desire for artistic expression. It's funny how the format of a sketchbook affects my inspiration. Maybe I like the portrait format because I draw a lot of...portraits. 

I love to draw people. I love to draw what they say to tell the viewer, or to remind me, of what exactly was going down when I was sketching them.

Here's my dad Paddy a week or so ago. This sketch shows him just how is. He is nuts about music, albeit in a narrow range of genres. He loves classical music, musicals, showband, dixie...the night before I made this sketch we sat up and watched George Formby ("When I'm Cleaning Windows") doing his thing in black and white on Dad's laptop. I went to bed with the jolly sound of ukelele still jangling in my mind. Dad is never happier when listening to, or discussing, the music that he loves, but gets quite cross about music he sees as being lacking in melody (we disagree occasionally).

Dad loves the electric piano the family got him for his 70th birthday, over ten years ago. He will sit for hours with headphones on, tinkling away at the keyboard.

Dad is not particularly given to strong language - we were brought up to believe that swearing displays a lack of vocabulary, and I still don't say bad words in front of my parents - but he let slip a very soft Anglo-Saxon word just under his breath as I sketched him. Then, because my parents mightn't see the funny side, I thought I had better cover it up, should they be leafing through my sketchbook. I cut out a second speech bubble with a tab attached and stuck it on top of the first, date and all. 

 A few days ago, I wanted to draw the boat we've just bought, but the sketch needed a person to add interest. It was too cold to sit outside and make a proper sketch job of the boat, and a view of a bit of it through the window wasn't going to cut the mustard. My daughter Liv was available and didn't appear to be doing much. Since becoming a teenager, she has become tall, confident and...sassy. Where once she would have sat however I wanted her to sit, and for any amount of time, she is no longer as obliging. "Would you stop moving!" I said. She's an extreme fidgeter at the best of times, and today was worse than usual. The plait she'd put in was falling out a bit and she kept jumping up to re-plait it. She's still a great subject though, and I will continue to pester her to sit for me. She has cropped up frequently in my sketchbooks across the years, and it warms my heart to look at sketches of my youngest child.

So yeah - we bought a boat! It is eighty years old and a piece of history, and my husband Marcel intends to restore it to its former glory. Every man who climbs the ladder to have a closer look comes down and says to me, sotto voce and with a serious expression, "He has his work cut out for him, you do realise that?" and "Does  he know what he's taken on?" etc. etc. My favourite is one I hear a lot - "Don't you mind having a boat in your drive?" (Answer: yes, a lot, but I believe in giving one's spouse freedom to indulge in pet projects). I wanted to record it in a sketch in the days following its arrival, just to remember the sense of excitement and anticipation we feel right now...and, insurmountable task or not, it's a great way to give delivery guys directions.

A day or two later my eldest, Honor, decided to do some study for Christmas exams which are coming up later this week. She has not had an easy journey through the teenage years, and I was very pleased to see the focus and determination she showed. I was also especially pleased that she took out the dreadlocks she had woven into her hair over the previous few weeks, of which I heartily disapprove. The dreadlocks gone, her hair had ended up in a great frizzy mass, so the only thing she could do was to put it into two buns. I was so happy to have a chance to sketch her, as she does not feature much in my sketchbooks, either because she hasn't been around, or because we haven't been in a good mood with each other.

My daughter always looks impossibly glamorous, matted chunks of hair or not. We do not resemble one another physically at all: I have a pink complexion and pale red hair, but my young lady has inherited her half-Mauritian father's looks, with sloe eyes and olive skin courtesy of a Pondicherry beauty in the tropical family tree. She is enveloped in a black velvet dressing gown in this sketch: this is her normal day-time wear, and fits the starlet look she channels with such ease.

In this sketch, Honor is studying geography. She is talking non-stop about her study technique, about her subject - Italy - and about anything else that distracts her ("Have you SEEN how cute the dog is, Mum?" etc. etc.)

I am overjoyed to say that I suspect the drought of sketches of my eldest is over, and my beloved, almost-grown child will appear more often in my sketchbook.

Meanwhile, I can feel some more speech bubbles coming on...thank heavens for urban sketching and the indulgence of telling a story.





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